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Council cuts down on plastic

Council buildings and services continue to reduce single-use plastic

Date issued: 20 February 2020

Colchester Borough Council is continuing to minimise single-use plastic, following its Climate Emergency declaration last year.  

Last year, following warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the council became one of the first local authorities to declare a climate emergency. This commits the borough to be net carbon zero by 2030 and to plant 200,000 trees. 

As part of the commitment, the council’s buildings and services continue to reduce single-use plastic where possible.  

Leisure World has phased out 13,000 non-recyclable straws a year; 37,000 plastic products from coffee and food sales; 1,500 milk cartons, and only serves plastic water which is made from 100% recycled material. As of March 2020, it will also introduce Vegware Slush Puppies cups, replacing 10,000 plastic cups.  

Colchester Museums have begun to use a sustainable paper-based eco-friendly alternative for exhibitions. Staff also encourage visitors to recycle their Castle maps when they leave the museum.    

Other council buildings (including the Town Hall) have transferred from plastic to paper cups and changed coffee machines so staff and visitors can use their own mugs – removing 40,000 single-use cups since 2018.  

Colchester Borough Council is also the lead authority for the North Essex Parking Partnership, which replaced its single-use plastic Penalty Charge Notice pockets with a biodegradable alternative, in July. Since then 50,000 biodegradable pockets have been issued across north Essex.  

Councillor David King, Portfolio Holder for Business and Resources, said: “Plastics pollute and litter our streets and countryside and poison marine and animal life.    

“I am proud the council is setting an example and significantly reducing its reliance on single-use plastic. That's a great step in the right direction, but we all have much more to do. I call on residents and businesses to act now, wherever they can, and stop using avoidable plastics.” 

Councillor Martin Goss, Portfolio Holder for Waste, Environment and Transportation, added: “Last year, Friends of the Earth ranked Colchester as joint top climate-friendly area in the East and third overall in England and Wales. This is a great achievement, but I am mindful that many issues still surround our environment.  

“We are supporting a host of initiatives to enhance the environment, including becoming carbon neutral by 2030, developing renewable energy, planting 200,000 trees, minimising waste and reducing the borough’s carbon footprint and emissions.” 

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